Faculty Biography

Aaron McClendon

Aaron McClendon



BA (University of California at Santa Barbara); MA (Saint Louis University); PhD (Saint Louis University)

Contact Information:

Office: Frandsen 105

Telephone: (775) 682-6358

Email: amcclendon@unr.edu

Academic Specializations:

American Literature, Literature and Music, Histories and Theories of Music, Transatlantic Literary Studies, American and British Popular Music, Affect Theory, Aesthetic Theory, Genre Theory


Recent Publications:

  • “Sounds of Sympathy: William Wells Brown’s Anti-Slavery Harp, Abolition, and the Culture of Early and Antebellum American Song.” Forthcoming in African American Review (2012).
  • “Harmonizing the Nation: Margaret Fuller and the Music of Antebellum America.” Nineteenth-Century Music Review 6 (2009): 47-63.
  • “‘for not in words can it be spoken’: John Sullivan Dwight’s Transcendental Music Theory and Herman Melville’s Pierre; or, The Ambiguities.ATQ 19 (2005): 23-36.

I specialize in American and Transatlantic literature and culture from the 1790s to the present.  My main emphasis is from the early- to late-nineteenth-century.  At the moment, my research is guided by Jacques Attali’s idea that to understand what a culture sounds like is to know how that culture is organized.  Accordingly, my work examines a culture’s audition at a given moment, and thinks about how understanding that audition allows us to gauge how class, gender, racial, sexual, and national identities form and transform in literary texts according to the music and sounds of an era.  In addition to presenting at numerous MLA and ALA conferences, my work has appeared in ATQ, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, and is forthcoming in African American Review.  I have just completed an article that argues that European tonal music shaped Edgar Allan Poe’s theory of short story narration, and I am currently working on two projects: the first illustrates how European Romantic music influenced the feminist epistemologies of Elizabeth Stoddard’s The Morgesons (1862), and the second argues that gendered operatic conventions, as styled in the seventh-century and beyond, structured the generic composition of Walt Whitman’s initial Leaves of Grass (1855).   

My work with music and literature extends to popular music as well.  Beyond my interest in the rock criticism of Lester Bangs and Greil Marcus, I am attracted to the American underground music scene of the late-1960s to late-1970s, with The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, New York Dolls, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, X, Black Flag, and The Germs getting much of my attention.